Congestion: APM Terminals, Apapa loses container vessel to P&CHS

Following congestion crisis hampering cargo clearance activities at the nation’s busiest port, Apapa port, French shipping company, CMA CGM has diverted one of its container vessel, Seaspan Lahore with IMO number 9301811, and voyage number  0BB7ZN1MA from Apapa port to Port & Cargo Handling Services (P&CHS), the shipping arm of maritime and aviation conglomerate, Sifax Group.

In an advisory notice sent out to its customers last Friday, and sighted by the Nigerian Tribune exclusively, CMA CGM said the diversion will lead to cargoes being discharged at the newly commissioned Sifax Ijora terminal.

According to the advisory notice, “Please note that due to berthing delays, subject vessel, SEASPAN LAHORE, with voyage, 0BB7ZN1MA will omit Apapa port call for Ports & Cargo Handling Services, Tin-Can in other to maintain vessel schedule integrity.

“Consequently, all import cargo for Apapa will be transferred to Sifax Terminal Ijora (under Apapa custom command), while Tin-Can cargo will be stepped down at Ports & Cargo (Tinan customs command) for your shipment delivery.

“Kindly contact your local CMA CGM office should you require any further information. We would like to thank you for the support to CMA CGM Group services.”

Speaking on the development, Francis Ajor, a clearing agent whose cargoes were affected, explained that Seaspan Lahore was expected to discharge her contents at APM Terminals, Apapa but had to be diverted to another container terminal at Tin-Can port.

In his words, “As the advisory notice says, the vessel will now discharge her contents at P&CHS due to berthing delays at Apapa port. The vessel, like many, had been waiting at anchorage for weeks due to congestion issues at Apapa port.

“Like you know, APM Terminals is the only container terminal in Apapa port, others are bulk and specialised terminals. So the next container terminal is in Tin-Can port, and that is P&CHS. That is why CMA CGM  issued that advisory notice. Don’t forget that Sifax Group just commissioned a terminal in Ijora, so the cargoes will be stemmed down there for discharge. I received the advisory notice from CMA CGM because I have jobs onboard that vessel.”

On whether the divertion from one container terminal to another is good for Nigerian ports, Ajor explained that, “If the Sifax Ijora terminal can help speed up cargo clearance, then I will advise that more vessels should be diverted to P&CHS because vessel waiting time is becoming alarming. Apapa port is filled to capacity, and the new Ijora terminal is a very good alternative, otherwise, these vessels could have been diverted to neighbouring ports in the West African sub-region.

“That the vessel is being diverted to P&CHS in Tin-Can port is good for Nigeria because the revenue still goes into Federal Government coffers. What if there was no Ijora facility? The vessel could have been diverted to Lome or Cotonou, and that would have been a loss to Nigeria.

“The only implication here is that terminal handling charges which ought to have accrued into APM Terminals coffers will now go to P&CHS,” Francis Ajor told the Nigerian Tribune exclusively.

Seaspan Lahore is a container ship that was built in 2006 and is sailing under the flag of Hong Kong. Her carrying capacity is 4,253 TEU and her current draught is reported to be 11.2 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 260 meters and her width is 32 meters.

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